The Department of Homeland Security last year detected evidence of surveillance devices operating near the White House, an official A group of Democratic lawmakers asked for a threat assessment looking at risks posed by President Donald Trump’s cellphone use and whether foreign adversaries could have accessed classified information as a result.
Trump routinely uses cellphones to tweet and communicate with friends that don’t have the same level of security as his predecessors’ had, POLITICO reported last month. At least one of his devices has its camera and microphone intact, which experts believe could be used to spy on the president if his phone were compromised.
In a letter to William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked for an assessment of whether sensitive government information has been exposed through Trump’s phone habits.
“If the President has indeed been using unsecured devices to communicate with associates, it represents a grave danger to U.S. national security,” the senators said in the letter, which was dated Wednesday.
Unlike President Barack Obama, who would hand over his White House phones for inspection every 30 days to be examined by telecommunications staffers for suspicious activity, Trump has gone as long as five months without a checkup on a phone he primarily uses for Twitter. According to an administration official, Trump has resisted swapping out the phone on a monthly basis because it is “too inconvenient."
The Department of Homeland Security last year detected evidence of surveillance devices operating near the White House, an official disclosed in a letter to Wyden last month.